How often have you felt a sense of shock while using your car’s door handle, or how many times did you receive a shock while exiting your car, even touching any metal surface in your car might have caused you exposure to static current? Well, this definitely does not mean that there is something wrong with your car. This is neither a new phenomenon, nor you are the only one to experience it. Static electricity is a common phenomenon that occurs especially in winters when it is less humid. Before we get rid of the problem, we need to understand what is static electricity and what is its potential to cause any harm.
Static electricity is produced, usually due to an imbalance between charges in an object. It can occur in anything that possesses charge, but only when disproportion of charges exists on a surface. This imbalance can be caused when either a surface is rubbed against any other surface, or whenever two surfaces contact and separate. This charge stays in a body until it finds its way to be released or discharged. It is dangerous only when there is a presence of highly flammable gases otherwise when sensed by a human being, it only causes discomfort. But if you are experiencing static electricity more often than usual, well that’s the time when you really need to think about prevention measures.
When it comes to the car, the probability of static current due to car seat coverings is very high. Certain fabrics especially synthetic fabrics are more prone to the production of static charges. This phenomenon will occur more often in cold, dry weather since in natural moist air static current discharges naturally whereas dry air doesn’t provide any route for the ejection of static charge.
Still, there is nothing to worry about. You can get rid of static electricity by using very simple techniques. Here are 7 different methods to reduce the exposure to static electricity:
Hold any bare metal or coin while exiting:
The current is generally produced when you are about to leave your seat. This is because your clothes and the seat fabric have got enough contact to exchange electrons, and when separation occurs it has more potential to produce a spark. The simple way is to hold a bare metal which is conductive enough to provide a route for discharging the static current harmlessly through your hands. If you don’t have any metal, there is another trick; use a coin or a key instead. Touch the coin with the car surface while getting up. You might get an experience to see the spark but that won’t hurt you anymore.
Do not use a key with electronic chip because the current might destroy the chip-making your key useless.
Change your shoes:
If you are experiencing static shock more often, then it’s time to change your wardrobe. Most rubber shoes still cause your trouble as they insulate you from the ground, hence blocking the pathway of static current to discharge. If you change your shoes and switch to the one with more synthetic leather or specific electrical discharge shoes (ESD), then you are safer from current exposure. These shoes will provide a pathway for the current to be discharged as soon as you touch the ground.
Treat the car seats with fabric softener:
It is not always possible to change the whole of the car’s fabric to more natural material. What else you can do is to spray the car seats with fabric softener. Not permanently but it can definitely get you rid of static current for few days. If you don’t get a fabric softener at your local store, you can make one using simple ingredients like white vinegar, glycerin, and water; mixed in a jar.
Also, check for your clothing material. Try to choose more natural fibers than synthetic ones. Just be extra careful while wearing polyesters.
Attach grounding strap for non-conductive tires:
Some tires come with “low rolling resistance” which apparently may give smoother driving but in reality, are very poor conductors of electric charge. Made of silica, these tires can cause more likelihood of static charge hence they don’t offer a route for the current to be discharged as you drive. The best way is to provide a grounding strap of a conductive material which can provide a corridor to the electrons for their smooth transfer without hurting any individual. In old cars, tires are usually the white ones having the same issue as in new common cars; the tires are covered with carbon black; which is a very good conductor of electricity. The anti-static discharge straps will work for your car to save you from being exposed to static charges.
Using anti-static spray:
Anti-static sprays basically provide a barrier between two surfaces so that they do not exchange electrons, and the balance is not disturbed. In this way, no current is produced and no chance of getting zapped occurs. Anti-static sprays can be used on the car’s seating so that either you sit in or leave the car, you do not experience current of any sort. It creates a barrier between your clothes and the fabric of seats.
Always check the compatibility of your anti-static spray with the car’s seat material. This can be done using a patch test, to avoid bigger loss.
Using anti-static band:
Anti-static bands are installed in some metal frames of the under-carriage of your vehicle. These straps hang below the car touching the ground, hence providing a route for the electrons to be transferred to the ground while you are driving across roads. In this way, no charge is build up.
Sometimes, people find the hanging straps undesirable and aesthetically do not appreciate the idea of using anti-static bands to avoid a static charge.
Using anti-static keychain:
The last prevention method is simple in its nature. An anti-static keychain provides a safe route to the electrons build up before even you touch the metal surface or door of your car. This way, you can safely exit from your car without the fear of being zapped. This little device sometimes comes up with a flash of lightening feature on the exposure of charge build-up. But it is said to be a really harmless and safe way.
Static charge is not very harmful; it’s just how you deal with it. A Bonus tip is to keep you moisturized to prevent undesired charge exposure. Follow these preventions, drive safe, and don’t get zapped.